The average person takes more than 20,000 breaths a day without even thinking about it. But if youâ€™re suffering from asthma symptoms or attacks, breathing might be all you think about.
When you take a breath, air flows down your windpipe and then through small tubes called bronchi, before reaching your lungs. But in asthma sufferers, these airways can clog because of tightening muscles, tissue inflammation and excess mucus. These clogged airways can lead to a variety of breathing problems such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, coughing, sputum (phlegm), or a combination of these symptoms.
For the more than 20 million asthma sufferers in America, asthma is usually mild or moderate. But it can develop into a life-threatening emergency and should always be taken seriously. Luckily, with help from yourÂ lake mary doctor, medications and some prevention methods, you can lessen the impact of asthma on your life.
1. Avoid triggers. If you have asthma, you can reduce asthma attacks by avoiding allergens, smoke and other fumes, viruses and other respiratory infections, heartburn, stress and drugs that trigger attacks. Asthma sufferers should always wash their hands well, get a flu shot each fall and get vaccinated to prevent pneumonia. Itâ€™s also better that they exercise in cold, dry air.
Â 2. Take the medications your doctor prescribes. There are two types of asthma drugs: quick relievers (also known as â€śfast-actingâ€ť or â€śrescueâ€ť inhalers) and controllers (used to prevent flare-ups and maintain airflow). Muscles that surround the breathing tubes can tighten up in minutes. A quick reliever will help these muscles relax. And everyone with asthma should have a quick reliever with them at all times, just in case.In contrast, it can take hours or days for inflammation of the bronchial tubes to respond to drugs. So, anti-inflammatory drugs (controllers) need to be taken regularly, whether you have symptoms or not.
YourÂ lake mary doctorsÂ will choose the medications that are best for you based on the severity of your asthma.If asthma symptoms bother you frequently, youâ€™re ability to exercise is limited, and you often need emergency care, your asthma is out of control. All asthma sufferers should stay in touch with their Lake Mary orÂ sanford doctorÂ and report severe flare-ups in their symptoms right away.Managing your asthma doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™ll never experience asthma symptoms. But with the right treatment plan, your asthma shouldnâ€™t usually interfere with your life or prevent you from doing the things you like.To learn more about asthma, visit theÂ Patient Education CenterÂ of Harvard Medical School.